• Today
    October 19

  • 11:09 PM

Small in name, big in ambition

Tony Best,

Added 18 November 2012


Say “Ivy League” universities and the picture that comes quickly to mind is one of academic excellence, selectivity in admission and a pecking order that’s characterized by social elitism. That’s because the tertiary level schools which belong to the Ivy League – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale – are so highly regarded that they have become synonymous with prestige, exceedingly high scholastic achievement and an educational philosophy  inherent in some of the world’s oldest, best institutions of higher learning, Britain’s Oxford and Cambridge among them. That explains why Chad Small, son of Bajan parents Charles and the late Angela Small, is considered something of a phenomenon, an exceedingly rare student and the envy of young people across the United States. “I applied to all of the Ivy League schools plus three others and I was admitted to every one of them,” said Chad. “Some offered scholarships but money wasn’t the key attraction. I felt I could get the education and training that would help me achieve my life’s goals and so I selected Yale University.” And that’s where the teenager is taking freshman classes in science, syntax and the Russian language with his eyes set on eventually becoming a top-notch physician, an oncologist, who is committed to giving back something to the community. “I believe I can do a lot for the world but I must get a first-class education,” the 17-year-old told the SUNDAY SUN. “I was blessed with excellent parents who provided me with a caring home environment in which education was always emphasized. After all, my roots are in St Andrew and in St Joseph in Barbados where my parents were born and raised. An only child, I was always showered with love. My parents were clued into education.” The youth, who speaks and writes Russian and holds a gold medal awarded by Moscow to foreign and domestic students who enter and win a national and international essay competition, graduated from Staten Island Technical High School, one of New York City’s finest academic high schools. It compares to Barbados’ Harrison College, The Lodge School, Combermere, Queen’s College, Foundation and Alleyne. As a matter of fact, Staten Island Tech is in the same league as the Brooklyn Technical High School, Bronx High School of Science, and Midwood High School in Brooklyn. Chad graduated with a grade point average of 4.0, the highest any student could achieve. “My high school was very competitive and you always felt that you had to drive yourself to keep up with your peers,” he said. “Many of the students there were from New York City’s Russian immigrant population. At least 60 per cent of the students were white, about 30 per cent were Asian Americans (mainly Chinese) and the rest were of different races. Blacks accounted for less than one per cent, Hispanics, five per cent; However, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the high school and its diversity prepared me for life at Yale. As a matter of fact, I feel I can deal with any racial situation.” The Bajan-New Yorker, whose mother became seriously ill and died two-and-a-half years ago, gives maximum credit to his father, Charles Small, an attorney who is the chief clerk of the civil division of the New York State Supreme Court system in Brooklyn, the first black person appointed to that much sought after position. “My father is from St Andrew and he is the best role model any son can have,” said Chad. “When I think of him, the image is one of an excellent father figure who is very intelligent. He provided the guidance I needed. My mother too was always there for me and I miss her quite a lot now that she is no longer with us. “As I said earlier, this emphasis on education in my house was crucial and I trace it back to Barbados.” The Brooklyn-born youth, who has several relatives in St James, is a frequent visitor to his parents’ birthplace where “I have had some of the best times of my life”. Chad, according to his father, “never gave us any trouble” and applied himself to his studies in school. He believes firmly in contributing to the community, added dad. The student who has his heart set on graduating in four years from Yale University gave a peek into his operating philosophy. “It’s always good to have a sense of where you are going,” he said. “You must also know where you are. “I thrived on the competitive atmosphere of my high school and I am enjoying it at Yale. “I am thinking of becoming an oncologist and I am confident of achieving that goal.”


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